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From my experience, the largest hurdle first time programmers have is being able to execute programs in their head. It takes a cognitive leap to go from the source code in front of them, and what happens at runtime. This disconnect is not present in straight-line code, but it becomes a problem when loops are introduced.

So, I agree with you. If the goal is to get beginners programming, then they have to program. No amount of reading is a substitute for programming. This book may be an excellent way to introduce people who have already done some programming to important concepts, but I doubt it will get them closer to being programmers.

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